I went to a birthday party of a friend of mine tonight. She turned the big 3-0. Been there, done that, found out it’s not so bad.
She had helium balloons floating in one of the rooms with pictures tied to them. Each one was a picture of her at some point in her life, with some showing her as a kid, some as a teen, and the more recent ones showing her all grown up.
I was captivated by that idea. I think each of us are defined in many ways by defining moments in our lives– snapshots, if you will. Those are the events in our lives that we remember as if we’re looking at a Polaroid taken at that very moment.
For me, it was the moment I found out about my granddad’s passing. Or when my boss called me into his office after the first plane had struck the World Trade Center building on September 11, 2001.
I can also remember walking across the stage to accept my diploma in my graduation ceremony from Union University.
That’s just it. You don’t get to pick your memories. You don’t get to pick how many good or bad ones you’ll have. You do get to choose what you do with those memories and how you look at them. How you look at life through them.
The old cliche is true. You can take the bad memories from your life and either let them make you bitter or better. You can choose cynicism and unbelief or you can choose forgiveness and faith.
Some of my best memories are of the friends I’ve made, including the friend who just turned 30. Others involve my family. More often than not– nearly all of the time– the best memories will involve people and not possessions or accomplishments.
I choose to believe the best about others and bring it out of them because that’s what Jesus did for me. I choose to trust that God can take the worst moments of my life and make them the first part of my testimony to how good God is and how He can turn a wreck into something beautiful.
I think I’ll have one more good set of memories after tonight.